Project Summary


FAIR, the "Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research" is a particle accelerator complex which will be set up in Darmstadt, Germany, as a joint effort of - currently - nine countries with more to join. FAIR will give up to 3,000 physicists and other scientists from Europe and from across the world the possibility to conduct cutting-edge research in five fields: physics of the structure of atomic nuclei, physics of antimatter, physics of nuclear matter under extreme conditions, plasma physics, physics of the atomic shell, as well as in related applications (e.g. in space sciences). FAIR will be built adjacent to the existing GSI facility and will use its accelerators as injector. GSI is the FAIR host lab and the key technology partner for FAIR.

FAIR is the largest research infrastructure on the 2008 ESFRI Road Map (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures), that has since moved into the implementation phase, and hence is one of the pioneering projects from the Road Map. The preparatory phase of the construction of FAIR was supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7). The "FAIR preparatory phase" was a subproject within the FAIR construction and is subject of this report. No scientific and technical work was included in the "FAIR preparatory phase". However, the European Commission substantially supported R&D towards FAIR within other EU contracts (FP6 and FP7).

The primary goal of the FP7 project "FAIR Preparatory Phase" project presented here was the implementation of the project. The work plan aimed at strategic, legal, and financial matters, at governance and management structures, and at research and accelerator coordination. No R&D work was included in the "FAIR Preparatory Phase". One of its most important milestones was the incorporation of FAIR GmbH, the project owner entity, a limited liability company under German law with international shareholders. This incorporation took place on 04 October 2010, the date when the FAIR Convention was signed in Wiesbaden, Germany, by nine states (contracting parties). The facility: FAIR will be an integrated system of particle accelerators which will provide high-energy and high-intensity beams of ions of all stable and unstable chemical elements (from hydrogen to uranium) with unprecedented quality. Moreover derived beams of short-lived ions and antiproton beams will be available. FAIR will enable its user communities to carry out forefront research. FAIR has a broad scientific scope allowing frontier research in different fields of physics:


  • Physics of the structure of atomic nuclei: The atomic nucleus is a manifestation of the strong interaction. But also the other interactions, the weak, the electromagnetic interaction and gravitation (in neutron stars), are present in nuclei. That makes the nucleus a unique physics "laboratory". Despite gravity being very weak, together with the strong interaction it dominates the evolution of the universe. FAIR will deliver high-luminosity rare-isotope (secondary) beams for these studies. These beams are produced by directing a primary ion beam on a production target. A fragment separator subsequently selects the desired isotopes from the reaction products.


  • Physics with antimatter (antiprotons): Collisions of protons with anti-protons, performed at FAIR's high-energy storage ring, provide an excellent "microscope" to study the strong interaction. The theory of the strong interaction predicts a number of so far undiscovered particles which will be quested by FAIR's PANDA detector. This detector will measure masses and lifetimes of these and other particles consisting of strange and charm quarks with unprecedented precision.


  • Basic research on nuclear matter under extreme conditions: The fundamental constituents of the strong interaction, quarks and gluons, always come in "confined" configurations. But when temperatures rise and particle densities increase confinement can be overcome and a new state of matter arises: the quark gluon plasma (QGP, a state of the early universe just after the big bang).


  • Matter under extreme conditions - classical dense plasmas: Another kind of plasma is produced when ordinary matter undergoes extreme pressures. The resulting plasma (a mixture of free electrons and the free-floating ions) might e.g. be found inside giant planets like Jupiter. Further opportunities for plasma physics arise in connection with inertial confinement fusion. FAIR will study these plasmas by means of a unique and unmatched combination of highly-bunched particle beams and high-duty lasers.


  • Physics of the atomic shell: FAIR will test the most accurate field theories under extreme conditions in highly-charged heavy ions. Moreover the relationship between ordinary matter and antimatter will be studied by producing e.g. antimatter-molecules.


In addition to the basic science research, applications like radiobiological risk assessments for manned space missions will be studied at FAIR. For energy production based on inertial confinement fusion, the plasma physics studies will provide insight into the fundamental physics questions of this method.

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